Antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in children, teenagers, and young adults. However, depression and certain other mental problems may also increase the risk of suicide. Talk with the patient's doctor to be sure that the benefits of using Amitriptyline outweigh the risks.
Family and caregivers must closely watch patients who take Amitriptyline . It is important to keep in close contact with the patient's doctor. Tell the doctor right away if the patient has symptoms like worsened depression, suicidal thoughts, or changes in behavior. Discuss any questions with the patient's doctor.
Amitriptyline is used for:
Treating depression. Amitriptyline may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant. How tricyclic antidepressants improve depression symptoms is not fully understood. They are thought to increase the activity of certain chemicals in the brain (norepinephrine, serotonin), which help improve mood.
Do NOT use Amitriptyline if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Elavil
- you are currently taking or have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine, selegiline) within the last 14 days
- you are taking antihistamines (eg, diphenhydramine), cisapride, droperidol, a ketolide (eg, telithromycin) , a macrolide (eg, erythromycin), mibefradil, or pimozide
- you are recovering from a heart attack
Before using Amitriptyline
Some medical conditions may interact with Amitriptyline . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of mental illness (eg, bipolar disorder, mania, manic-depression), or have considered or attempted suicide
- if you have alcoholism or regularly consume 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day
- if you have glaucoma, an irregular heartbeat, heart disease, chest pain, liver disease, prostate problems, thyroid disease, or are unable to urinate (urinary retention)
- if you have a history of seizures, epilepsy, or porphyria
Some medicines may interact with Amitriptyline . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- MAOIs (eg, phenelzine, selegiline) because they can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening, reactions. Do NOT take MAO inhibitors with, or within 2 weeks of taking, Elavil
- Anticholinergics (eg, scopolamine), bupropion, cimetidine, fluconazole, phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), SSRIs (eg, fluoxetine), terbinafine, or valproic acid because side effects such as blurred vision, difficult urination, drowsiness or sedation, dry mouth, or lightheadedness may occur
- Antihistamines (eg, diphenhydramine), cisapride, droperidol, ketolides (eg, telithromycin), macrolides (eg, erythromycin), mibefradil, pimozide, or streptogramins (eg, quinupristin/dalfopristin) because serious side effects on the heart (eg, racing heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, life-threatening abnormal heartbeat leading to unconsciousness, and lack of heartbeat, may be increased by Elavil
- Carbamazepine, thyroid medicines (eg, levothyroxine), or stimulants (eg, albuterol, pseudoephedrine) because their side effects may be increased by Amitriptyline
- Warfarin because side effects such as serious bleeding may be increased by Amitriptyline
- Clonidine, guanethidine, or guanfacine because the effectiveness of these medicines may be decreased
How to use Amitriptyline :
Use Amitriptyline as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Amitriptyline comes with an additional patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully and reread it each time you get Amitriptyline refilled.
- Amitriptyline may be taken with food or on an empty stomach.
- Avoid eating or drinking grapefruit juice while taking Amitriptyline .
- Amitriptyline may take up to 30 days to control symptoms of depression. Continue to use Amitriptyline even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of Amitriptyline , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Important safety information:
- Amitriptyline may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Amitriptyline . Using Amitriptyline alone, with other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medicines that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking Amitriptyline . Amitriptyline will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
- Amitriptyline may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
- Involuntary and uncontrollable movements may develop in patients taking Amitriptyline . Occurrence is highest among the elderly, especially women. The risk of developing these involuntary movements and the likelihood they will become permanent are increased with long-term use and with high doses. However, it is possible to develop these symptoms after short-term use at low doses. Contact your health care provider at once if any of the following occur: involuntary movements of the tongue, face, mouth, or jaw (eg, protrusion of tongue, puffing of cheeks, puckering of mouth, chewing movements), sometimes accompanied by involuntary movements of the arms and legs.
- Amitriptyline may cause sensitivity to sunlight. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and other ultraviolet light (eg, tanning beds). Use sunscreens and wear protective clothing until tolerance is determined.
- Do not become overheated in hot weather or during exercise or other activities since heatstroke may occur.
- Children, teenagers, and young adults who take Amitriptyline may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions. Watch all patients who take Amitriptyline closely. Contact the doctor at once if new, worsened, or sudden symptoms such as depressed mood; anxious, restless, or irritable behavior; panic attacks; or any unusual change in mood or behavior occur. Contact the doctor right away if any signs of suicidal thoughts or actions occur.
- Diabetes patients - Amitriptyline may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using Amitriptyline .
- Use caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially lightheadedness upon standing; rapid heartbeat; breathing problems; difficult urination; and constipation.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Amitriptyline has been shown to cause harm to the human fetus. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Amitriptyline during pregnancy. Amitriptyline is excreted in the breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Amitriptyline .
Possible side effects of Amitriptyline :
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Blurred vision; change in sexual desire or ability; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; tiredness; trouble sleeping; weakness.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; confusion; dark urine; delusions; difficulty speaking or swallowing; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; new or worsening agitation, anxiety, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, restlessness, or inability to sit still; numbness or tingling in an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; severe or persistent trouble sleeping; slurred speech; suicidal thoughts or actions; tremor; trouble urinating; uncontrolled muscle movements (eg, of face, tongue, arms, legs); unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual or severe mental or mood changes; vision problems; yellowing of the skin or eyes.